When visiting areas where Bilharzia (Schistosomiasis) is found, contact with contaminated water should be avoided. Bilharzia is found in shallow water that is stagnant or flowing slowly, along the banks of rivers, dams and pools, and especially where plants are growing in the water. If you wet yourself with contaminated water, clean yourself immediately by rigorously rubbing yourself dry with a cloth. The parasite may penetrate the skin within minutes. Contaminated water should be boiled or purified before being used for drinking or washing. Bilharzia infection can be severely debilitating and unpleasant and is not easily cured. In rare cases it can go to the brain, with lethal results. As the skin is penetrated, the first symptoms may be a skin reaction, although this may be mild or may not even show. Other symptoms include persistent fatigue, bodily discomfort, fever and vague intestinal complaints. If in doubt, a doctor should be consulted.